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Gayesy's parenting after loss journal

Month 3 ~ May 26, 2002
~ Thriving!

KatelynThis month started with a visit to our wonderful paediatrician. He was thrilled with Katelyn's growth and how well she was developing. The words he wrote in her little booklet were "thriving with excellent development". At 9 weeks and 2 days she weighed in at 12 pounds 12 ounces and was almost 23 inches long. She sure is growing! We had her first vaccinations (we didn't get the Hepatitis B at birth and are delaying them for a few years but are pretty much going with the schedule for the others so that meant one needle in each thigh). We put EMLA cream on her little thighs an hour or so before the shots and it did help a bit, but the poor little princess still cried. It was probably more upsetting for me though I think, as a cuddle and breastfeed later, Missy Moo was all smiles but I was still feeling stressed. Thomas also had two shots and thankfully he won't need anymore for a number of years now.

Afterwards, Thomas was perfectly fine, no reaction at all. Katelyn was fine for a few hours and then started crying a LOT. I looked at her legs and one of them was quite red and inflamed. After another dose of infant Panadol and lots of cuddles she was feeling better again thankfully. That night she did a HUGE vomit, soaking herself, me and the bed, and then settled down to her usual sleep thankfully. The next day everything was back to normal. I am pretty glad that this first vaccination ordeal is over!

As the months go by, I find myself falling ever deeper in love with my precious baby. Isn't it amazing how each mother develops such a strong bond with her little one? I can acknowledge that all babies are special and beautiful, but when I look at my own, I am just blown away and think she is the most beautiful baby in the whole world. I never tire of seeing those little cheeks, her big blue eyes, her sweet mouth.. I LOVE holding her, kissing her, having her with me all the time.

Mother's Day itself wasn't much fun this year for a number of reasons. One was that Andrew had to spend most of it working. The whole work situation is driving us all nuts, affecting Thomas's behaviour, our moods.. Anyway, Thomas was extra grumpy on the actual day on top of that. My own mother made it clear she didn't want us to visit her and even though I believe her when she says she is very tired, I felt pretty rejected that she would rather sleep than see us. Oh well.. The Wednesday before Mother's Day was lovely though, as Thomas's preschool group put on a little concert for all the mummies, singing two songs about how much they love us! The children had also made some little gifts and cards. (He has taught himself to write his own name, and signed his card himself.) I will treasure them always!

KatelynKatelyn gave me her idea of a special present the day after Mother's Day: she did a real, full-on laugh for the first time! She had been squealing with laughter before then, but this was really something! I was so excited that I rang Andrew up at work and held the phone up to her so he could hear. What sheer joy to hear that sound! I still LOVE it when Thomas laughs: to know your child is happy is a wonderful feeling.

Laughing out loud isn't the only thing she has been learning! It is quite remarkable how much she is developing. Katelyn has discovered her hands and loves playing with them and using them to grab toys and pull them to her mouth. She is SO strong and loves to stand up: she can support her full weight on those little legs now! When we lie her down, she tries to sit up, and she can sit well with assistance. Or she will use those strong little legs of hers and push herself backwards. She has actually hit her head on the wall because she insists on doing that when she is on her change table! If we pull her up from lying to sitting, she keeps her head in line with her body, showing her great head and neck control. On the Sunday after Mother's Day (when she was 11 weeks and 5 days old) she even rolled over from back to front for the first time. She hasn't done it since, so I suspect it might be a while before this is a regular "trick". Katelyn has been a lot more alert and interested in her world and more vocal too. She has quite long conversations with us, which I absolutely LOVE - she has the cutest little voice! All sorts of little vowel sounds and combinations of two syllables are in her repertoire now: aaahhhh, ooooo, ah-goo, n-gi, er-ga, oo-goo . . . You get the picture! LOL! What a clever little Missy Moo she is!

Katelyn loves watching Thomas play, especially when he runs around the house dressed up as Superman! (By the way, he has announced that when he grows up, he wants to be a superhero! He is so adorable.) I suspect she might crawl and walk earlier than he did because she looks like she is just itching to join in all the fun! She is still in my arms almost all day and sleeps beside me at night, but she is starting to want to be sitting up in her little rocker or playing on the floor on her mat from time to time. I am thrilled that I have now pretty much mastered using my Maya Wrap sling now, and have been using it a lot, especially when we are out. With my snuggly-type carrier, she would only be happy to be in it if she was already asleep: with the Maya Wrap, she is very happy to be in it awake, feeding, or asleep.

KatelynThe breastfeeding has been going really well. Apart from that bout of mastitis I had in the first month and a bit of a battle with thrush, we have been SO fortunate that things have been smooth sailing. In the middle of this month I had a plugged duct but managed to massage it out in a hot shower. It certainly is handy to have breastfeeding experience and knowledge that I have gained over the past few years! She can even cope better with let-downs now and only pulls off if it is particularly strong (and then gets squirted all over the face - just as well milk is good for the complexion!). I LOVE breastfeeding her! It is such a wonderful, amazing experience. I see her growing and know that it is MY milk that is doing that! For someone who has hated her body for decades, this gives me some very positive thoughts about one aspect of it - I hate the way I look but I feel great joy that my body is able to nourish and nurture my little one.

I decided at the beginning that I was going to nurse Katelyn anywhere, anytime and I am so proud of myself that I have even nursed her in front of male members of the family (discreetly of course - no-one would actually "see anything".) Even though I breastfed Thomas until he was almost five, and even in public until he was almost three, I never felt up to nursing him when male family members were around. This made things really unpleasant at family gatherings, as Thomas nursed practically constantly and I ended up spending most of the time shut away in some bedroom. With Katelyn, I just get on with it and am able to keep doing whatever I want or need to do. It is so liberating!

Sleep has been going well too! A couple of nights this month, she has even "slept through" according to the technical definition of going five or more hours of sleep. I should stress that I am honestly in no hurry for her to do this on a regular basis: as long as she is happy and healthy and I am getting enough sleep to function, I am happy. Having said that, it can be great to get a few hours of sleep in the one stretch. Even when Katelyn does nurse often during the night, she usually is not troubled by her reflux pain enough to cause a problem. I can usually just stir enough when I hear that little grunting to latch her on and then we both go back to sleep. No crying, no pacing the floors, and no having to sit up with her on my chest all night. Yay!

I am very pleased that the car situation is now greatly improved. My parents gave us some money towards a convertible car restraint and she is so much more comfortable in it than in the capsule. The baby capsule is touted as the safest infant seat in the world, but I am yet to hear of a baby who was actually happy to ride in one. For babies with reflux, the way the capsule curves their back is probably the worst position in which to place them. Even the safety was overridden when she was screaming so much that I found it hard to concentrate on the traffic. (I almost had an accident one day.) She will no doubt be even happier once we can turn her around to be forward-facing, but for now I am just happy that things are so much better.

We have been visiting Andrew's parents each Sunday. During the pregnancy I never imagined I would be happy to do this, but the visits bring them such joy that it actually is quite pleasant. Andrew's father's leukemia is not responding so well to treatment, so he is quite ill, and being able to see Katelyn and Thomas really cheers him up. My in-laws haven't even said one critical word about our parenting this time, which is MUCH appreciated.

I got a bit anxious towards the end of this month. Katelyn developed a rash on her face and was quite unsettled. I ended up taking her to the doctor, who couldn't work out what was going on, but was able to reassure me that she seemed fine. She wanted us to go back a few days later, and by then it had cleared up thankfully. I took the opportunity to have Missy Moo weighed though and at two days short of three months, she was 6.25kg, which is 13 pounds, 12 ounces. The funny thing is that Thomas weighed the same at the same age! He was so much smaller at birth (2 1/2 pounds smaller in fact) so was a much quicker gainer. She's doing just fine though, right down to her adorable little rolls on her arms and thighs.

Thomas and KatelynThe last day of Katelyn's third month was also what would have been Nicholas's first birthday, had he survived and been born on his due date. Thomas and I were going to make a birthday cake to mark the occasion but I just didn't feel up to it. We made a small donation to a charity in his honour though. It was a sad day in many ways (worse than I expected it to be, not helped at all by the fact that when I mentioned it to my parents, the only thing my father said was "Oh well, anyway" and sounded annoyed that I had brought it up) and yet having our precious little Missy Moo there smiling away and so beautiful and healthy helped. Of course nothing can enable us to accept what is unacceptable, but I think I have reached a point in my grief where I am "okay". Happy birthday little Nicholas!

So my little living angel girl is three months old now! These months have flown by! The joys I have been experiencing with Katelyn have even surpassed my dreams. She is an absolutely wonderful little treasure and I am incredibly grateful we have her.

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